One of the UK's Oldest Schools Closes

After more than 200 years, Ockbrook School in Derbyshire will close at the end of the summer term due to lack of funds.
One of the UK's Oldest Schools Closes
By Carli Allan
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One of the UK's oldest boarding schools, Ockbrook School in Derbyshire, has announced its closure in July 2021 due to running out of money. The co-ed independent school, which was founded more than 220 years ago, has faced significant losses made worse by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the closure, Ockbrook School said:

"It is with great sadness that the Trustees are informing you today of their decision to close Ockbrook School at the end of the Summer term. At Ockbrook School, we have aimed to develop individual potential and self-worth through stimulating and positive relationships and through an understanding of Christian values, so that our pupils are prepared for the changes they will face in their future lives.
"We are tremendously proud of what we have achieved through the years. Their decision to shut the school was not taken lightly, and was driven by the school remaining significantly loss-making, exacerbated by the Covid Pandemic. We apologise to everyone affected by this. Parents are invited to contact Trustees directly in the event that they have any questions."

Located near Derby, the day and boarding school was founded in 1799 as an all-girls school, and only became co-ed four years ago in 2017. It's a small-all-through school that enrols around 300 students in Nursery through to Year 11 (three to 18 years), the majority of whom are day students. The closure on July 9 leaves families frantically searching for a new school place for their son or daughter, including students who are currently studying for their GCSEs and A Levels.

Tuition fees are currently £3,360 a term for primary school, £4,435 for Years 7 to 9, and £4,565 for Years 10 to 13. It would seem that many staff and parents were unaware of the school's financial problems after members of the school community told BBC Radio Derby that the announcement had "come out of the blue". A letter was sent to all parents at the school late on Monday afternoon and staff were informed of the news at a meeting held at the same time.

The current head teacher, Jeff Shipway, only started started at the in January following the retirement of the previous head Tom Brooksby. Speaking to the Derby Telegraph on his appointment in November 2020, Mr Shipway had said:

“Taking Ockbrook School forward during these uncertain times is a challenge I relish. The school has a strong teaching and parent body, plus its rich history, beautiful countryside location and international boarding community set it apart from other independent schools in this area. I am excited at the opportunity to build on the great work undertaken by Mr Brooksby and his leadership team.”

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